The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Biti under fire

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:39

FINANCE minister Tendai Biti this week came under ferocious fire from
political principals of the inclusive government and his ministerial
colleagues at a heated high-level meeting over his controversial bid to
strip President Robert Mugabe of regulatory powers vested in him by
the Exchange Control Act.

Biti was attempting to acquire the powers through clandestine amendments to
the Act, his critics charged.
The no-holds-barred attacks on Biti, who has become the most powerful
minister since the coalition was formed last year, widened cracks within the
shaky government which is locked in a low-intensity internal strife due to
incessant power struggles between parties and individuals across the
political divide. Biti has previously been accused by his MDC-T colleague
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro of behaving like a “super minister”.

Informed sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that Biti was savagely
attacked at the meeting at Munhumutapa Building over his attempts to amend
the Exchange Control Act — a move described as “treasonous” by Zanu PF
political zealots — and by the principals and other ministers.

Those who took turns to round on Biti include Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, deputy premier Arthur Mutambara, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick
Chinamasa, Welshman Ncube, Nicholas Goche and Joseph Made.

Biti last week tried to manoeuvre through parliament amendments to the
Exchange Control Act contained in the Finance Bill which would have resulted
in Mugabe’s regulatory powers in the Act being transferred to himself.

The Exchange Control Act confers powers and imposes duties and restrictions
in relation to gold, currency, securities, exchange transactions, payments
and debts, and import, export, transfer and settlement of property.

The original Act confers these regulatory powers on the president, but Biti’s
amendments proposed shifting these functions to the minister.
Biti also wanted to make amendments to change the law which says that no
person could sit on more than two boards of state entities to ensure that a
person could sit on up to three boards. The amendment was seen as a partisan
attempt by Biti to justify the appointment of Charles Kuwaza to three

Kuwaza is deputy chairman of the Reserve Bank board and chairman of the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and State Procurement Board.

Kuwaza has been under pressure to resign from one of the boards. The issue
became more urgent due to his vicious boardroom infighting with central bank
governor Gideon Gono.

After Biti’s amendments were heavily criticised by Zanu PF senators on
Friday last week even though they had been manoeuvred through the House of
Assembly through threats of expulsion and inducements for MPs, the issue was
taken to government’s critical Tuesday meeting of top policy-makers and
debated there.

Sources plugged into the meeting said Mutambara provoked the storm when he
said that there was a problem in parliament last week over the issue of the
budget because, besides the Appropriation Bill which legalises the
ministerial and other financial votes or allocations, there was the
controversial Finance Bill which sought to make material amendments to the
Exchange Control Act.

Mutambara was said to have told the meeting Biti had said he had permission
from Mugabe and Tsvangirai to make the amendments.

“After Mutambara had spoken, Mugabe came in and said he had not authorised
Biti to make those amendments. Tsvangirai also said he had not given any
permission to Biti to do that,” a senior government official said.

“That provoked a hornet’s nest. A barrage of attacks then rained down on
Biti from Mnangagwa, Chinamasa, Ncube, Goche and Made. Basically, ministers
who are lawyers led the charge and Biti was cornered. However, Biti
distanced himself from the amendments claiming it was his ministry’s
officials who did it and only owned up to the ‘Kuwaza clause’ in the

Lawyers said Biti’s amendments were unprocedural as they were not approved
by cabinet. “The procedure if a minister is introducing any Bill, he or she
first presents the principles of the Bill to cabinet for approval,” one
official said. “After that the process moves to the Attorney-General’s
office drafting and then it comes back to the cabinet committee on
legislation before being taken to cabinet and tabled in parliament,” the
official said. “If it’s a Finance Bill it comes from the Minister of Finance
and goes to the president and prime minister for approval before going to
parliament because of the nature of the issues it would be dealing with
which is basically tax-related matters.”

Sources said Biti shirked responsibility over the Exchange Control Act
amendments during the intense exchanges, saying he was not the one who
initiated them. This was however rejected by the principals and ministers
who thought Biti was only trying to disown his initiatives.

But sources said Biti fought back and warded off criticism by those who
wanted to question his credentials and motives. “He was cornered but did not
take it lying down,” one source said. “He fought back although he was
defeated because it was resolved he should revoke all his amendments to the
Exchange Control Act and the ‘Kuwaza clause’.”

The sources said Biti has been arguing that the Exchange Control Act
amendments were not that consequential because of the multi-currency regime
and were in line with international best practice. On the Kuwaza issue, Biti
has reportedly argued that the amendments were necessary because Kuwaza was
“competent and effective”. Repeated efforts to get comment from Biti failed

Dumisani Muleya 

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

... as Mugabe vents fury on VP Mujuru

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:36

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is furious with Vice-President Joice Mujuru for
supporting Finance minister Tendai Biti’s bid to amend the Exchange Control
Act to usurp his regulatory power given to him by the Act.

The rejected amendments, which were supposed to be introduced through the
Finance Bill, would remove  from Mugabe his powers in relation to gold,
currency, securities, exchange transactions, payments and debts, as well as
imports, exports and transfer and settlement of property and vest them in
The amendments were also expected to amend the law to ensure that one person
is allowed to sit on boards of up to three state entities. Currently  no
person is allowed to sit on more than two boards. The changes were expected
to help Biti’s ally Charles Kuwaza to remain as deputy chairman of the
Reserve  Bank as well as chairman of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and
State Procurement Board.

Mujuru collaborated with Biti in steering the amendments through the House
of  Assembly last week before the alarm was raised by Zanu PF  senators last

The controversial amendments were sent back to the Lower House. They were
discussed amid furious exchange in cabinet on Tuesday before being rejected.

Biti was lambasted by the principals and ministers over the changes.

Mujuru and Biti threatened Zanu PF and MDC–T MPs respectively with expulsion
if they refused to vote for the Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill on the
budget. The amendments were contained in the Finance Bill.

MPs were refusing to vote for the budget demanding to be paid US$3 000
monthly, arguing that they had not been paid their sitting, travel and
subsistence allowances for three years. Mujuru and Biti threatened to get
them fired if they refused to vote for the budget and proposed amendments.

Biti also used certain inducements to get the MPs to vote for the budget: he
promised to buy them new cars and write off their car loans, as well as
raise their salaries with effect from January 2011.

Informed sources said Mugabe was alerted to the amendments on Friday last
week by Reserve Bank officials. It was said after that Zanu PF senators were
instructed to attack Biti over the issue and suggest “amendments to the

Sources said Mugabe was angry that Mujuru worked closely with Biti on the
issue without consultation. Mujuru is widely seen as an ally of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T.

It said Mujuru has maintained close relations with the MDC-T because she
anticipates that in the event that Mugabe cannot continue in office either
through incapacitation, retirement, removal or death, she can secure a
majority in parliament to be his successor.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe says if the president can no longer continue in
office, both houses of parliament – sitting as an electoral college – will
elect the successor.

If Mujuru has the support of MDC-T it means she would be well-positioned to
succeed Mugabe ahead of her rival Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe is also said to be fuming with Mujuru for supporting Biti on the
Kuwaza issue, mainly because the former Finance permanent secretary has been
fighting Mugabe loyalist, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.

“The president is very angry with the VP (Mujuru) because of her
collaboration with Biti. He thinks she was involved in a plot with Biti and
that she has damaged her prospects to succeed him,” a senior Zanu PF
minister said. “The president wanted to hear what she would say in defence
but she did not attend cabinet on Tuesday. There are going to be serious

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Poll solely for presidency’

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:35

THE MDC-T national executive and council yesterday said the next poll should
be solely for the presidential election, proposing that a harmonised one
should be held in 2013 as prescribed by the constitution.
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in the capital that the
council had resolved that the next election, which President Robert Mugabe
wants mid-next year, should be held only to deal with the disputed 2008
presidential poll, which led to the formation of the inclusive government.
“Council notes and restates the position that an election in Zimbabwe should
be held with the question of illegitimacy associated with the farcical
presidential runoff election of June 2008,” Tsvangirai said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, council resolves that the next election should
be solely for the disputed presidential election of 2008 with a harmonised
election to be held in 2013 as prescribed in the constitution.”
The issue has been contentious, with legislators from all parties arguing
that the only disputed election was presidential and therefore their
five-year terms should not be cut short.
But under the current constitution, elections in Zimbabwe have to be
harmonised to include presidential, parliamentary and local government
Tsvangirai reiterated that if the elections were to be held next year they
should be in line with Sadc guidelines for a free and fair poll.
“Council notes that the Sadc roadmap on elections dealing with the creation
of adequate conditions for free and fair elections, guarantees against
violence and security of the person…be put in place before the aforesaid
elections,” he said.
Tsvangirai added that proper monitoring and policing of the election,
including the question of Sadc’s presence six months after the election,
should also be put in place prior to elections.
He also wants guarantees with respect to the honouring of the people’s will.
Among other issues discussed by the council were outstanding issues,
violence and intimidation, WikiLeaks, Chiadzwa diamonds and the
constitution-making process. The MDC-T leader called on Sadc to immediately
reconvene the aborted extraordinary meeting of the Sadc Troika of November
20 so that outstanding issues, a roadmap to elections and “toxic issues
including the issue of violence, deployment of security agents in the
countryside and a corrosive media” are resolved.
Tsvangirai also announced that the party would be holding its congress next
year by May 30.
“Council further waives strict compliance with the time limits provided in
the constitution,” he said without elaborating.
Tsvangirai said serving and retired security personnel should be withdrawn
from the rural areas which he described as a “machination of inculcating a
culture of fear amongst the rural people”.
In addition, he pleaded with the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the
judiciary to prosecute “all perpetrators of violence”.
Tsvangirai also urged the South African government to release the judges’
report into the electoral violence of 2002 and the South African generals’
report of the 2008 electoral violence.
He said the council noted that there was rampant corruption taking place in
Chiadzwa and urged the immediate drafting of the Diamond Act.
“Council notes the leakages, corruption, opaqueness and lack of
accountability associated particularly with minerals and extractive
industries in general,” Tsvangirai said.
In response to the WikiLeaks, the MDC-T leader said his party was not going
to be divided by the diplomatic leaks which he accused Zanu PF and state
agencies of using to try and derail the party.

Wongai Zhangazha

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mujuru camp against early elections

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:34

THE Zanu PF faction led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru is
said to be opposed to early elections next year because it would upset the
political situation and reverse the economic gains achieved under the shaky
inclusive government.
However, General Mujuru in an interview yesterday challenged anyone claiming
that he heads a faction to prove it, adding that it was a creation of the
“Ask whoever was saying that to prove that such a faction exists,” he said.
“I don’t have a faction. What faction, where is it, who is in it? It is all
100% lies and non-existent,” he said.
“You know what, it is not pleasing to read day in and day out that I lead a
But central committee members who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this
week insisted that the Mujuru faction was using businesspeople to lobby
President Robert Mugabe not to have elections next year.
This comes after Vice-President Joice Mujuru held two meetings with the
business community — one organised by Ernst & Young and the other by Zanu PF
members — said to be in her faction dubbed “Business Talks to Zanu PF” at
Celebration Centre in the capital.
In both meetings, the businesspeople bluntly told Mujuru that they did not
want early elections next year, arguing that it would disrupt economic
The businesspeople said it was not in the national or business interest to
have elections next year.
Instead of early elections, the business community said government should
find ways of re-engaging the Commonwealth and the West.
They said politicians should be concentrating on delivering food to the
people’s tables and not elections and name-calling.
One central committee member said:  “It is very clear that they are (Mujuru
faction) trying to lobby the president using the business community because
none of them can oppose him publicly. If you look at this whole thing to do
with elections, it is the people from Mujuru’s faction that don’t want
“They would rather have the elections in 2013 or thereafter because the
longer we take, the higher the chances their candidate has to take over from
President Mugabe. By 2013, the president might not want to contest. Do the
maths — who is next in line.”
Another central committee member said those protesting informally were from
Mujuru’s faction.
“All those people you see (pointing at some politburo members from
Mashonaland Central and East) don’t want elections. You can go and ask them
and if they are frank with you they will tell you that we should not have
elections next year,” he said adding that “their fear is that, if the
president stands next year and wins, he might step down and choose his
successor, who might not be Mai Mujuru.”
While Zanu PF has publicly been pushing for elections next year, fissures
have emerged within the party as many are not sure if they would win polls
less than 30 months after they lost a two thirds majority in parliament to
the MDC-T.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed these sentiments as
“factional propaganda”.
“This is not true. Mai Mujuru categorically and specifically told the
businesspeople that it was an issue of the principals who will say when
elections will be held. She has never had the dialogue with the intention of
delaying the elections,” Gumbo said.
“It is just factional propaganda which is intended to try and discredit
someone. We have all been speaking the same language on elections.”
He said Mugabe had told Finance minister Tendai Biti to provide US$200
million for the referendum and elections next year.
Gumbo, however, said it was Biti who did not want to have elections because
he only set aside US$50 million under unallocated reserves.
He said although the election issue was not debated at two politburo
meetings this week and central committee meeting on Wednesday, the matter
was on the agenda at the conference in Mutare.
Gumbo was, however, quick to point out that not much debate on the elections
should be expected at the conference.
“People will oppose when the chef (Mugabe) is not there and in the corridors
but never in an open forum. If there will be any debate, it will be at the
conference but I still don’t see anyone standing up and opposing early
elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, top Zanu PF officials told the Independent that there is a
deliberate ploy to stall the constitution-making process in order to delay
The politburo members said although at their level they are opposed to an
early election, they could not publicly express this view which is contrary
to that of their principal.
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have for months been calling for
early elections. Mugabe has said he could not extend the government of
national unity by more than six months and would want elections to be held
soon after the referendum, irrespective of whether the draft constitution is
accepted or rejected.
“Don’t expect elections next year,” said one politburo member. “We will not
publicly oppose but will delay them by delaying other processes that should
lead to the elections. We will just make sure that the constitution-making
process is delayed and all other processes that are supposed to ensure free
and fair elections.”
“But what you should expect next year are by-elections, for which Biti set
funds for.”
Biti set aside US$40 million for by-elections where seats have been vacant
since 2008.
Meanwhile, the conference got off to a sluggish start in Mutare yesterday
amid reports there were serious logistical problems which resulted in funds
for holding the conference being released on Wednesday evening.
The failure to release funds for the conference marked a change in the
fortunes of Zanu PF, known to host congresses and conferences which are
characterised by pomp and fanfare.
A delayed start of the conference gave further credence to the chasms in the
political party around the timing of the next general elections.
Zanu PF’s 11th conference was full of surprises starting with the holding of
the central committee meeting in Harare whereas in the past it was held at
the conference venue or close by. Apart from holding the central committee
meeting more than 260 kilometres from the venue, this is the first time when
there were delays to the actual start of the conference as delegates were
expected to start arriving yesterday.
But Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF politburo secretary for administration, played
down the reported tensions from known factions saying the “revolutionary”
party decided to hold both the central committee and politburo meeting in
Harare for logistical reasons.

Faith Zaba/Kelvin Jakachira/Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF to probe members in WikiLeaks cables

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:32

ZANU PF is planning to set up a probe team to investigate its members who
have been mentioned in the controversial WikiLeaks cables, and those found
guilty will face disciplinary action, a politburo member said this week.
The probe team, according to party national spokesperson Rugabe Gumbo, would
be established during the on-going conference in Mutare.
Besides investigating the party members, Zanu PF would also want to look
into statements attributed to MDC-T in the cables and see if there is a
legal route it can take to deal with its partner in the inclusive
Said Gumbo, “We want to really find out what was happening. We are working
with these people (MDC-T) during the day, but at night they are singing a
different tune.
“They are (MDC-T)  our partners in this inclusive government  and we are
worried  by  the reports (WikiLeaks) so we are looking at legal instruments
on how best we can deal with this issue.”
President Robert Mugabe told the Zanu PF Central Committee on Wednesday that
his party would rethink and take stock of its participation in the inclusive
government in light of the WikiLeaks exposures.
“What is galling is the discovery, or perhaps, confirmation, that the people
we thought were our partners in the running of the country were most of the
time serving masters who are not the people of this country,” Mugabe said.
In one of the cables published by WikiLeaks, PM Morgan Tsvangirai is said to
have called for the partial lifting of sanctions –– “without giving the
impression that we are rewarding lack of progress or bad behaviour”.
Another cable dated July 13, 2007, revealed that the US has been working
with MDC-T to effect regime change in Zimbabwe. Former US ambassador to
Zimbabwe Christopher Dell wrote to Washington saying the MDC-T was not an
“ideal” conduit to its programme, as it lacked able leaders.
He, however, said Tsvangirai was useful for American purposes in Zimbabwe.
Gumbo said: “Even some party members (Zanu PF) who are cited in the reports
on shoddy items, they should be investigated to find out what drove them
into doing what they did.”
He hinted that   “…even the lifespan of the GNU would be looked into in
light of the WikiLeaks revelations.”
On the WikiLeaks website, a Zanu PF official identified as Mudarikwa was
reported as telling US Ambassador Charles Ray in a classified cable that
Zanu PF “was holding together because of the threat of MDC-T and foreign
Mudarikwa was also quoted saying the party was like a “stick of TNT (a high
explosive) susceptible to ignition and disintegration.”
He likened Zanu PF to a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among
themselves but coming together to face external threat,” read Ray’s cable.
But Mudarikwa (Zanu PF’s MP for Uzumba/Pfungwe) denied ever meeting Ray.
“I have never met the ambassador,” Mudarikwa said, claiming there were many
Mudarikwas in the party holding various positions.
“Actually I do not know him (Ray),” he said when reached for comment last
week by the Independent.
Nine cables from the US Embassy in Harare sent between 2000 and 2010 were
leaked by WikiLeaks last week.
They cover the state of Zanu PF, progress in implementing the GPA, MDC-T’s
proposal for a transitional authority in 2000, the looting of diamonds,
involvement of the army in Marange, and the displacement of the villagers
from that area.
Senior Zanu PF members have called for the resignation and prosecution of
Tsvangirai over WikiLeaks reports in which he is linked to conversations
with US officials where sanctions and the removal of Mugabe from power were
His spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, on Tuesday said such calls were
“The mischievous and barbaric calls for the prosecution of the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe over the WikiLeaks reports represent desperate acts by
those whom the people unequivocally rejected in March 2008,” said
Tamborinyoka in a statement.
“Zimbabweans are not worried about what the US embassy in Harare cabled to
Washington. They are only aware of their strong opinion which they cabled
from the various polling stations in March 2008 entrusting their hope and
faith in the person of Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Nqobile Bhebhe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt to resume paying Diaspora pensioners

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:30

PUBLIC SERVICE Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said government is working on
modalities of paying over 5 000 pensioners who have left the country to live
in the Diaspora since 2000 when the country was undergoing an economic and
political crisis.
Mukonoweshuro said this in parliament on Wednesday when he was responding to
a question by Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross on what government policy was on
payment of pensions in Zimbabwe and when his ministry would resume payment
to pensioners outside the country.
The minister indicated that his ministry would resume paying Zimbabwean
pensioners outside now that the country was using hard currency after the
introduction of multiple currencies.
“With the introduction of the multiple-currency system, the provision
started to be made by the Ministry of Finance so that we can meet our
pensioners’ obligations,” said Mukonoweshuro.
“Currently, we have about 5 600 pensioners who are spread across the globe
from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, with a single pensioner in Poland.
The payment of external pensions has been stopped because of the financial
problems around March 2003.”
He added that no pensioner would be prejudiced of their pensions that
accrued during the period when the state could not pay out in foreign
currency due to economic difficulties.
“We have been putting the money into an escrow account. There will be no
prejudice because the money is accruing in the account,” he added.
The minister further stated that the process of identifying pensioners and
proving that they are still alive was daunting as most pensioners were
unwilling to give their details online.
“We have embarked upon a process to solicit for life certificates which
should give us indications as to whether these pensioners are still alive
and if they are, where we can transmit their payments. We did hit a snag in
that exercise because a number of pensioners have been reluctant to send us
that information because they are afraid of identity theft,” the minister
The ministry has since asked the country’s foreign embassies to assist in
collecting information from pensioners as only 1 300 of the 5 600 had
responded to their call.
In February 2009, the British government offered its citizens living in
Zimbabwe a resettlement package to escape the economic and political
problems in the country. The offer was assumed to have been taken up by 360
British pensioners living in Zimbabwe out of a possible 5 000 who had their
pensions and investments wiped out by the ravages of hyperinflation.
Most pensioners in the country are receiving less than $50 monthly, an
amount not enough to meet their basic requirements in a country where the
poverty datum line for a family of six stands at $500. Those in the diaspora
went to live with their families or other relatives after working for the
state, including the railways, during the Rhodesian era with many
participating in the Second World War on the British side.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

10 000 Zimbos face deportation from SA

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:22

OVER 10 000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa face deportation after their
applications for permits were turned down by that country’s Home Affairs
department, as the December 31 documentation deadline looms.
Exiles’ organisations in South Africa met the Minister of Home Affairs,
Nkosaza Dhlamini-Zuma and her director-general Mkuseli Alpeni on Tuesday,
who insisted that the December 31 deadline would not be extended.
Deportations will start after January 1, according to the South African Home
Affairs office.
According to the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), the Tuesday meeting was meant
to unlock logjams besetting the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP). The
registration process started on September 20 and the issuing of passports
and other documents has been delaying progress.
ZEF executive director Gabriel Shumba told the Zimbabwe Independent that
Alpeni pointed out that of the 116 000 applications received, 10 000 were
rejected while 27 000 were approved. At least 79 000 were awaiting
“The Minister (Nkosazana-Zuma) however informed the stakeholders forum that
the deadline for the submission of passports which is the 31st of December
is not negotiable,” he said.
Shumba said the civic society and experts in exile made representations over
the continued delay in the issuing of permits in a bid to push for the
extension of the deadline but in vain.
He said: “This notwithstanding, ZEF still calls upon the South African
government to extend the deadline to ensure that as many people as possible
benefit. The organisation also wants to express its deep disappointment with
the Zimbabwean Home Affairs ministry for its failure to take advantage of
the offer made by South Africa to ensure that Zimbabweans obtain
documentation on time.”
South Africa is set to resume deportations on January 1 of those without
proper documents. In April last year, the South African government
introduced a 90-day visa on demand for passport holders and a special permit
allowing Zimbabweans to work and reside in that country for between six
months and three years. The moratorium was scrapped this year.
Shumba said ZEF and other organisations obtained major concessions from the
South African Home Affairs department which agreed that all Zimbabweans who
are in possession of receipts indicating that they have applied for a birth
certificate, identity card or passports would be able to use the receipts to
submit applications for permits.
“In order to deal with the issue of congestion, the ministry has graciously
decided to waive the requirement to have fingerprints taken and applications
can now be submitted from the queues as forms have now been given to ZEF and
others to distribute so that prospective applicants can fill them in before
they go to Home Affairs,” he said.
“All those who will be in the system by the end of the deadline will be
served. In addition, no deportations will commence whilst the process has
not been finalised. Mobile stations that will make it easier for farm
workers to submit applications from the farms will also begin operations
this week.”
ZEF, Shumba said, also encouraged Zimbabweans to take advantage of the
opportunity before the expiration of the deadline.

Brian Chitemba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WikiLeaks: A boon and bane for Zanu PF

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:09

JUST days after the first batch of confidential US embassy cables on
Zimbabwe were published by WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website, claiming
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been working in cahoots with the US to
remove President Robert Mugabe from office, Zanu PF naturally jumped at the
opportunity to confirm its long-standing allegation that the MDC-T is
sponsored by the West.

For Zanu PF, it was a case of “We told you so.”
And the leaks were just the stuff Zanu PF had been dying to get its hands on
for a decade. At each and every turn, Mugabe has told supporters and all who
cared to listen that Zimbabwe was under siege from the MDC-T and its Western
allies bent on effecting regime change until it became nauseating rhetoric.
First to come was the leak on Tsvangirai that claimed former US ambassador
to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell had said his government and MDC-T worked
together to effect regime change.
Just after the disclosures through diplomatic cables to Washington, the
state media went all out in a bid to justify its conspiracy-theory. The
state broadcaster ran adverts claiming that the truth –– the MDC-T is a
foreign-controlled party –– had been exposed.
While the Dell leak was a major ammunition boost for Zanu PF ahead of
possible elections in 2011, the game changed a little last week with the
cables saying ACR boss Andrew Cranswick told the US envoy that central bank
boss Gideon Gono and President Mugabe’s wife, Grace, were involved in
illegal diamond dealings. This quickly turned the focus on Zanu PF. Grace
Mugabe has since denied involvement in diamond deals, while Cranswick
claimed he had not given any of the names published and that he “never met”
any US officials.
In another cable sent in February this year, a Zanu PF member identified as
Mudarikwa told US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray the party was like a
“stick of TNT” (a high explosive), “susceptible to ignition and
“He likened Zanu PF to a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among
themselves but coming together to face external threat,” read Ray’s cable.
“New leadership was essential and would emerge as some of the old timers
including (President) Robert Mugabe left the scene,” Mudarikwa said.
“Mudarikwa opined that Vice-President Joice Mujuru or SK Moyo (former
ambassador to South Africa and now party chair) were possible candidates in
the succession stakes, although Mujuru’s fear of Mugabe was affecting her
ability to lead,” read the cable.
But Mudarikwa (Zanu PF’s MP for Uzumba/Pfungwe) denied ever meeting Ray.
“I have never met the ambassador,” Mudarikwa said, claiming there were many
Mudarikwas in the party holding various positions.
“Actually I do not know him (Ray),” he said when reached for comment last
week by the Independent.
Mudarikwa strangely is the only known senior Zanu PF official with that
name. Now, as more cables loom, both Zanu PF and MDC-T officials, who had
encounters with foreign embassies, are keeping their fingers crossed for
very simple reasons; it will cause a lot of discomfort.
For Zanu PF members, interacting with Western ambassadors is tantamount to
treason in a political party that declared the West anathema.
Even party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is having none of it. Moyo was quoted
this week saying the party’s politburo is keen on questioning Mudarikwa over
the leak.
For the MDC-T and the smaller MDC, the fear of further confirming Zanu PF’s
conspiracy theories to a gullible electorate is also one that is daunting.
But as the cables trickle in, more Zanu PF leaks could expose divisions in
the party and give the MDCs a game changer in the WikiLeaks battle.
For instance, last week’s cable claimed Mudarikwa took a view contrary to
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere on indigenisation, a policy
viewed as Zanu FF’s next campaign gimmick.
But apart from feeding scoops to newshounds, WikiLeaks has caused further
antagonism in the fragile unity government.
The South African-based Institute for Security Studies says revelations by
WikiLeaks had the potential to destabilise the country and the region ahead
of polls planned for next year.
“For Southern Africa, the WikiLeaks Zimbabwe revelations are most
significant, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say they could
destabilise Zimbabwe,” said Liesl Louw-Vaudran of the ISS.
“I am not saying WikiLeaks did not have the right to make the information
public. I am merely exploring the possible ramifications now that this
information is out there. We are sitting with a very tense situation, very
delicate, where we’ve got a dictator now for the last 25 years here in
Africa, absolutely insistent that any opposition to him is being instigated
by the West. He now has that on paper, and it is very dangerous.”
Already, Zanu PF central committee member and Tsholotsho legislator Jonathan
Moyo and former MDC-M national executive member, who has since joined Zanu
PF, Gabriel Chaibva have been calling for the resignation of Tsvangirai
accusing the premier of treason but MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
dismissed the duo as “certifiable idiots” saying some of the leaked cables
lacked “neither basis nor credibility.”
But the leaks have not only caused uneasiness in political corridors alone.
Even business executives have been sucked into the Zimbabwean episode.
African Consolidated Resources CEO Andrew Cranswick was named as a source in
one of the wires relating to Gono and Mugabe’s diamond deals. But the source
of the diamond information, like Mudarikwa, quickly denied naming anyone in
the diamond deals.
Unnamed Zimbabwean businesspeople based outside the country have also been
pushing to ease Mugabe out of power, the cables alleged.
This week, more WikiLeaks could be coming but Tsvangirai has also begun to
understand how the leaks implicating Zanu PF officials in diamond deals and
looting could be a game changer in the “wiki war” judging by media reports.
He says Zanu PF, currently holding its conference, should not ignore other
disclosures implicating its members while they are threatening to act on the

Chris Muronzi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Newborn deaths indict health system

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:02

IT never rains but it pours for 25-year-old Matilda Manuel whose
four-year-old son was hit by a truck along Harare-Bulawayo road when
bulldozers descended on Porta Farm during the controversial Operation
Murambatsvina in 2005.
Although five years have passed, the horrific image of her son, Fanadi
Manyere, being hit by the truck as he tried to flee the squatter camp when
bulldozers accompanied by police with ringing sirens arrived at the farm
will forever remain in her mind.
Five years on, tragedy hit her again. She lost her twins in 2008 while
giving birth in her wooden shack built on 180 square metres at Hopley farm —
a settlement created by government to accommodate more than 5 000 people
made homeless after it destroyed their homes at Porta squatter camp, 10km
south of Harare.
The squalid conditions people live in and the lack of proper sanitation has
left the residents vulnerable to waterborne diseases. At the moment,
families at the farm rely on one borehole and unprotected wells sunk close
to their one-metre deep pit latrines.  According to Amnesty International,
five of the six boreholes sunk by humanitarian organisations were not
working when they visited the farm in June this year.
Manuel lost her twins while giving birth in her small room with the help of
an unqualified neighbour.
This is just one of the many examples that show the inclusive government’s
failure to provide proper and affordable maternity facilities for the less
“I have gone through very painful moments in my life, some of which could
have been avoided,” she said. “In September 2008, I was heavily pregnant
with my babies. I did not know they were twins because I could not afford to
go to the clinic, worse still for a scan. I only discovered that when I gave
birth,” she said.
“I fell sick on September 14 and I walked to Utsanana clinic in Glen Norah.
I stayed there three days and on the third day I was discharged and told to
go home because I was okay but the biggest problem was money. They wanted
$50 billion (Zimdollar) which I could not afford.”
Manuel said on the day she was discharged she got into labour that night and
an inexperienced neighbour came to assist her.
“I gave birth behind the door,” pointing to the wooden door, “my neighbour
was so overwhelmed by the job because she didn’t know it was going to be
hard work delivering the children.”
“The challenge came when she failed to remove the placenta and I was tired.
Lucky enough that is the time my husband came and he had to rush us to the
clinic through the assistance of a well wisher,” she said.
At the clinic her placenta was removed successfully but unfortunately her
twins had died.
“I was very pained, I spent several weeks not feeling well and having
hallucinations of the pain that I went through. If only I could have
afforded going to the clinic my babies would still be alive.”
Today, Manuel, who is a housewife surviving on selling paraffin, has a baby
girl, Trish, whom she gave birth to last year without required maternal and
newborn healthcare.
“I gave birth to Trish in September,” she said. “This time it was just
sudden and I did it by myself. My neighbour only came to help with cutting
the umbilical cord. I risked giving birth again in the house but there was
nothing I could do because I could not afford the money,” said Manuel adding
that she was not sure whether the utensils they used during child birth were
Amnesty International released a report No Chance to Live recently in which
it told government to urgently investigate the deaths of newborn babies at
Hopley settlement area.
Amnesty International found that at least 21 newborns had died at Hopley
within a five-month period indicating a very high level of newborn deaths
within the settlement.
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Africa director, said the
victims of Operation Murambatsvina had been forgotten and their situation
continued to deteriorate.
“Many of the women we spoke to felt that their minimal access to healthcare
contributed to the deaths of their babies. Others suspected that their
babies died of cold because they live in plastic shacks,” said Kagari.
“The government must ensure these women have access to maternal and newborn
healthcare in order to prevent further avoidable deaths.”
Amnesty International said the city fathers could not do much to help the
women at Hopley, saying the council and the government did not have
demographic information of the population at Hopley, which the council said
was necessary to plan health interventions.
A woman who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent on condition of anonymity said
she has helped give birth to a number of children in the settlement despite
her inexperience.
“There is no maternity clinic in this area even though it’s a very big
settlement. The woman sits behind the door and that’s where everything is
done. Anyone who is close by can come and help even if one doesn’t know how
it is done,” the woman said. “Sometimes one gets into labour suddenly that
there is no time to look for plastics to wear as protective clothing. We
touch the blood with our bare hands.”
She added: “We know the importance of maternal and newborn healthcare
because we used to receive such special care during previous pregnancies
while we were at Porta Farm that was under MP (Patrick) Zhuwawo.”
Unicef country representative Peter Salama last week said at the launch of
the child survival strategy that every day “in Zimbabwe, around 100 children
die, mostly entirely from preventable deaths”.
Salama said: “For newborn deaths, the highest risk period is the first day
of life. In Zimbabwe, we lose more than 5 000 children every year in their
first day of life — a time when we should be celebrating the births of a
precious new life and not mourning their deaths.”

Wongai Zhangazha

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Parly whipping system could stifle debate’

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:59

ZIMBABWEAN MPs are powerless as they cannot challenge cabinet on important
issues, reducing their role to that of a rubber-stamp and legitimising
executive decisions.
This is a throwback to the doctrine of separation of powers, which supposes
the independence of the three arms of the state –– the executive (cabinet),
legislature (parliament) and judiciary –– and also provides for checks and
balances in order to prevent abuse of power.
Last week the executive whipped members of the House of Assembly into
passing the Finance Bill, which gives effect to the 2011 national budget,
showing that in Zimbabwe the doctrine of separation of powers was only
Members of the House of Assembly from both MDC-T and Zanu PF had vowed to
block the passing of the Bill arguing that resources allocated to education,
for example, were not enough. They were also demanding monthly salaries of
US$3 000 and compensation for the years cut short if elections are held in
2011 instead of 2013. These members were outrightly dismissed by the public
as showing mercenary attitude as focus was on what they termed “welfare
issues” but using inadequate resource allocation as a smoke screen.
Despite the public chastisement, it appeared that the MPs would stick to
their resolution to block the Bill until threats of expulsion by the
executive, through Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Finance minister Tendai
Biti, moments before the Bill sailed through without debate.
Mujuru and Biti’s intervention was a game changer, showing that while there
is talk of separation of powers, there was subordination of one pillar of
the state on the other.
Blocking the passage of the Bill, which would have been a first in the
history of independent Zimbabwe, would have been a clear vote of no
confidence in the executive which had collectively contributed and approved
the 2011 budget, hence the whipping, caucusing, threats and promises.
The tug of war between the executive on the one hand and the MPs on the
other was a losing battle for the legislators who, according to the
political system in the country, can be fired by the executive.
Munyardzai Gwisai then representing Highfield, was fired by the MDC in 2003;
the MDC-M kicked out of parliament three members of the lower house,
Abedinico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman
Mpofu (Bulilima West) for undermining the party’s authority, thus the MPs
knew what would happen to them if they defied their parties’ position.
The current constitution favours political parties as it requires a simple
note by the party leader to the speaker announcing the dismissal from the
house and there is no hearing or recourse as the seat is declared vacant.
With everything, in terms of the constitution stacked against them, the
lawmakers had to acquiesce to the party position, to save their political
lives, even if passing the contentious Bill went against their conscience or
expectations of their constituencies.
It was a power game which the executive triumphed over the legislature. The
judiciary appears the only arm which could not be easily beaten into
submission as the constitution goes a long way in protecting it and ensuring
the separation of powers with the executive.
Analysts blamed the dim boundary lines between two of the arms of the state,
executive and legislature, on the hybrid nature of the governance system.
Political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Eldred
Masunungure, said the whipping of the members of the House of Assembly into
line was clearly the result of the blending of the parliamentary and the
presidential systems of governance.
The parliamentary system of government allows the party (or a coalition of
parties) with the largest representation in parliament (legislature) to form
a government and usually the leader becomes the prime minister. On the other
hand, a presidential system allows an executive branch presiding over the
state separately from the legislature. In a presidential (congressional in
the USA) system, the executive is not accountable to the legislature and in
normal circumstances cannot dismiss it.
“In a normal situation, the executive would have persuaded and not coerced
the parliamentarians,” said Masunungure. “The executive displayed its muscle
and it showed that the legislature is subservient.”
The nature of the system, if not checked, could kill debate in parliament,
analysts added.
Admire Rubaya, an administrator at the Parliamentary Monitoring Trust of
Zimbabwe, said the whipping system could “stifle debate as one cannot stand
up for issues against the party”.
“However, at the same time it has to be acknowledged that a party may have
its own ideologies and policies which have to be implemented,” said Rubaya
who is also a legal practitioner. “These two are conflicting and thus it has
to be balanced between the party line and or what the members of parliament
would have been mandated by the people.”
Rubaya said it was important to ask if the “party position” was in line with
the people’s expectations as there are chances that policies pushed in
parliament may not be dipped in popular sentiment.
In Zimbabwe, MPs do not have the luxury of going against a party position
because of the consequences and they are kept in line by the whip or through
caucus meetings. A caucus meeting is when members of the same party meet to
decide on candidates or policies and what usually happens is that a system
of democratic centralism, where after a decision is reached, no member is
allowed to go against it, is adopted.
The obnoxious mix of democratic centralism and the whipping system could
prove unbearable as it kills debate which informs the policy process even on
issues where the lawmakers may be more knowledgeable than the executive.
For John Makamure, the executive director of the Southern Africa
Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST), the whipping system was bad for
democracy as members of the House of Assembly’s refusal to pass the Bill was
informed by serious discussions which had been undertaken through the 19
portfolio committees.
“Each of the 19 portfolio committees was given an expert to make
submissions,” said the SAPST boss. “They were well-informed, reasoned and
well thought out recommendations which were made.”
Both Masunungure and Makamure agreed that the current constitution-making
process was an opportunity to correct the problems presented by the hybrid
system that the country was using.
Masunungure said the whipping of the parliamentarians was the necessary “raw
materials” for deciding a governmental system that would further define
separation of powers and work for the general good of the country.

Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bank workers’ strike futile — Mushayavanhu

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:46

BANKERS Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) president John Mushayavanhu has hit
back at the sector’s workers’ union currently planning to embark on
industrial action ahead of the festive season as the rift between the two
sides widens.
Mushayavanhu on Wednesday told businessdigest that the Zimbabwe Bankers and
Allied Workers Union (Zibawu)’s planned strike scheduled for this week would
have little impact on the banking system despite Wednesday’s intervention by
the labour ministry to avert the industrial action.
“There will be no cost because first and foremost capacity utilisation in
the banks is currently very low. In other words, banks are overstaffed so if
the industrial action takes place those who are going to come to work are
going to be more than enough to be able to serve the needs of the clients,”
Mushayavanhu said.
“You will still be able to withdraw your money. You will still be able to
bank your money. You will still be able to transfer money from one place to
another. Also over the years banks have invested heavily in technology. I
only go to the branch because I am managing director of FBC Bank, otherwise
I don’t go there to transact.”
Zibawu, a union representing nearly 5 000 workers, accuse bank executives of
living lavishly and remunerating “leftovers” to shop-floor workers.
The union threatened that eight banks — Standard Chartered, Stanbic, CBZ,
NMB, Kingdom, Barclays, IDBZ and POSB — would be “affected the most during
the first phase of the job action”.
But an observation by this paper shows that most banks were operating
normally on Wednesday.
The workers are demanding an increment backdated to July amid massive
retrenchments that have resulted in at least 1 000 bank workers losing jobs
this year.
Mushayavanhu said “levels of computerisation” in the banking system would
reduce the impact of the industrial strike that threatened to delay salary
processing ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The union is demanding a 115% salary hike while bank employers are prepared
to effect a 5% pay rise. Although it was not immediately clear on what was
resolved during this week’s meeting with government, Mushayavanhu confirmed
that the Ministry of Labour had engaged the union and human resources
executives from various banking institutions.
Efforts to get comment from Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa were fruitless
as she was reported to be in a meeting at the time of going to print.
Phillip Mutasa, Zibawu president, did not pick up his mobile phone when this
paper reached him for comment yesterday.
Mushayanahu dismissed as “divisive” allegations by Zibawu that bank
executives where being remunerated handsomely while shop-floor workers were
surviving on salaries below the poverty datum line of US$498 monthly.
“They (Zibawu) are fighting so that they maintain the lifestyles they had
before banks carried retrenchments which froze between 20 and 30% of jobs
this year. The workers know the constraints their employers have. We believe
that this is as strategy to
divide the workforce,” he said. — Staff Writer.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Banks never inflated balances — Gono

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:43

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has defended banks after Finance minister
Tendai Biti accused the financial institutions of inflating redundant
Zimbabwe dollar balances ahead of government plans to convert the local unit
balances to hard currency.
Gono last week told a parliamentary committee on budget, finance and
economic development that banks had not inflated the Zimbabwe dollar
balances to bust the US$7 million set aside by treasury to convert the
useless local currency locked in the banking system.
His remarks are contrary to Biti’s post national budget sentiments when he
accused banks of “impregnating” bank balances soon after he announced
treasury plans to demonitise the Zimbabwe dollar which became useless after
the adoption of multiple currencies last year.
Biti made the humbling announcement which marked the death of the local
currency when he presented his the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review in July. No
progress has been made since the policy shift was made public.
“The bank balances suddenly became pregnant after the announcement.
Suddenly, they doubled. Suddenly, they became pregnant. That’s why we
stopped. Bankers, tell us who fathered and who mothered?” Biti told business
leaders at a recently held Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
post-national budget breakfast meeting.
Gono, however, stood up for banks saying the alleged arbitrage and
rent-seeking behaviour by banks had no financial benefits to the banking
system, still emerging from a decade-long economic crisis.
“It does not pay any financial institution or any bank to inflate a
customers’ account because the benefit does not accrue to the bank,” Gono
“So from a technical point of view, I have some difficulties in
comprehending how that would have happened. But in my next meeting with the
Honourable minister, I will be able to receive more enlightenment in that
area. But I want to assure you from a technical point of view that such
eventuality does not exist.”
“What could be of reference to the minister”, Biti argued, is that the
banking public particularly in remote areas could have had money outside the
banking system and “upon knowing or realising that there is going to be
compensation they took up that money and took it to bank it.”
“What would be in question is the assumption that was taken in computing and
arriving at the amount of US$7 million, which then means that there was some
omission of genuine depositors or liabilities that were being held
elsewhere, which they should have accounted for in the computation of what’s
due,” Biti added.
Cash strapped local industries want government to immediately convert local
currency bank accounts to US dollars as a desperate bid to improve liquidity
on the market.
The CZI says government should use a United Nations exchange rate of 35
quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars to the United States dollar.
The compromise currency exchange rate resulted from failure by the central
bank to review rates at the height of an unprecedented hyperinflation and
economic decline which stabilised after the adoption of multi currencies
last year.

Bernard Mpofu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mitigating Zim’s load shedding albatross

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:38

TO a great section of the Zimbabwean population, electricity has always been
thought to be a natural phenomenon. There is no doubt that most Zimbabweans
began to appreciate the consequences of electricity shortages at the advent
of the massive load shedding now a daily affair since 2007.
In Zimbabwe, electricity is produced in power stations at Kariba, Hwange,
Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati. Not all these power plants are currently in
full production for various reasons ranging from obsolescence of equipment
to lack of spares. The current peak demand for electricity in Zimbabwe is 2
200 Megawatts.
However, total capacity is only 1 320 MW resulting in a huge shortfall that
forces the country to import power from neighbouring Sadc countries at great
cost. Regrettably, the Sadc countries themselves to which we are
interconnected  have no excess power to export to Zimbabwe, hence the forced
load reductions the utility has had to resort to, switching off whole
communities in mining, domestic, commerce and industry.
Load shedding is the albatross around their necks that mining, domestic,
commerce and industry have had to contend with at great cost to
productivity, appliance safety and competitiveness on both the local and
export markets. The question to ask is: What can we, the consumers, do to
alleviate the situation?
Indeed every consumer of electricity can play a major part in reducing
electricity consumption and with it, the need to import non-existent power
and thus forcing the utility to resort to load shedding. In domestic
households stoves, incandescent lamps and geysers are the largest consumers
of power. Although an electric lamp rated at 40 - 100 watts may not appear
to be much on its own, the picture starts to change when one considers that
there are over six million of these lamps in Zimbabwean homes today. If all
these lamps were replaced with energy savers, the country would stand to
save over 200 MW of power. This alone would significantly reduce load
shedding to many communities.
Furthermore, if consumers took the initiative to install control devices so
that their geysers are off at peak times as well as the times they do not
need the hot water, the country would stand to serve a further 250 MW plus.
These two interventions alone would free enough power equivalent to the
entire Hwange Power Station Unit 1 - 4 with a combined 480 MW installed
capacity. The installation of solar water heaters would greatly enhance
these energy saving measures.
Industry too has a lot to do to save power. Many industrial machines run
from induction electric motors. Motors would greatly reduce power demand if
AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) drives were used to control
them. Power factor control is a major energy saving intervention that
ensures that a plant consumes only the energy that is absolutely real and
productive. Many in industry have had to dispose of spoiled raw materials
due to power that has been switched off abruptly while at the processing
stage. This has caused massive losses to industry and commerce affecting
local and export competitiveness of Zimbabwean made products.
The government, power utility and the regulatory authority Zesa have an
important part to play in this matter. Zesa has accumulated massive debts
from regional utilities, importing power that is utilised inefficiently by
the end consumers. All these debts will have to be met by the consumer
through taxation. They add on to the national debt, seriously impacting on
the nation’s profile, international perception and credit ratings. The
regulatory authorities need to take seriously the requirement for a
coordinated demand side management programme in Zimbabwe.
Authorities need to offer rebates and incentives to communities that
voluntarily commit to self-regulated electricity demand reduction. Demand
management is a preferred route because it is the cheapest mode of
delivering a virtual power plant in the shortest possible time. Six million
energy savers equivalent to 200 MW could be deployed to replace energy
inefficient incandescent lamps within a period of six months at a cost of
about US$15-US$20 million. Whereas a new 200 MW power station would need
five to seven years to build at a cost of US$300-US$450 million, an
investment that Zimbabwe is currently ill equipped to finance.
The energy problems affecting Zimbabwe have inspired industrial innovation
and productivity in the process of finding lasting solutions. Some
Zimbabwean companies have taken a lead, producing the devices required for
efficient energy management and thus advancing the quest for
industrialisation in the country. Lack of power affects everyone directly or
indirectly. Energy saving is therefore in the interest of everyone for,
there will never be a developed Zimbabwe without adequate electric power.

This article was prepared for the ZNCC by Lovemore Gowe Mukono, chief
executive of  Mukonitronics (Pvt) Ltd. He is contactable on:  or tel: (04)759442-6.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Muckraker: Respect is something earned Mr Mohadi!

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:02

AN interesting reflection of the power matrix in Harare could be found in
the report of a meeting in Johannesburg a few weeks ago. Co-ministers of
Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone were briefing Zimbabweans
resident in South Africa on arrangements being made for their documentation
and return. Things didn’t go particularly well, the Zimbabwean newspaper
reported, as the ministers wanted complaints to be put in writing and sent
to Mkwati Building.
The two ministers were anxious to express their high regard for each other
and for the efficiency of the Registrar-General’s office, something the
audience found hard to believe!
In particular they were sceptical of the claim by Makone that one Zimbabwean
student managed to get her ID document within five minutes!
Makone said she was not going to involve herself in “gutter fighting” with
members of the audience.
“I am not going to engage in gutter fighting because I am an intellectual,”
she clamed despite some evidence to the contrary. And Mohadi didn’t help
matters by demanding to be respected.
“I might be a bad person but respect me,” he insisted.
Altogether it seems to have been a rather unsatisfactory meeting. Leaving
aside the clumsy bureaucracy Zimbabweans in South Africa have to deal with
in their bid to get registered, Makone needs to be asked what she has done
to improve service at the Passport Office and at the Beitbridge border post.
A few questions on arbitrary arrests and compliance with an AU report drawn
up some years ago might also be in order.
As for Mohadi, he needs reminding that respect is something earned.

The Herald’s handlers seem to think that if they place the adjectives
“widely discredited” in front of “sanctions” it will change public
perceptions of President Mugabe’s regime.
They don’t seem to understand that the arbitrary arrest of journalists,
threats by senior officials such as SK Moyo, and Zanu PF’s blind refusal to
enact the reforms contained in the GPA do more to discredit this regime than
any manipulation of words in the state press. Only Zanu PF talks of
“discredited” sanctions. You don’t even hear it from the ANC. In fact none
of Zanu PF’s allies in the region use this childish language so why does the
Herald insult its readers’ intelligence?
Zanu PF spokesmen can pontificate endlessly about “discredited” sanctions
and Morgan Tsvangirai’s treason but it is unlikely to make any difference at
the polls.
They tried the same strategy in March 2008 with facile accusations emitting
from the Herald and ZBC and nobody took any notice!
How does the “discredited” political analyst Godwine Mureriwa explain how he
got all his forecasts of a Zanu PF victory so completely wrong but now has
the effrontery to repeat his threadbare pitch once again!

The Standard carried an interesting letter to the editor on Sunday. It is
worth revisiting. “When we are free from Robert Mugabe, God willing, soon,
we will remember how China supported and funded our tormentors. Mr Chinese
ambassador, there will be a price to pay so steep it will make Mount Everest
look like an anthill.” It is signed “Hip Hop Artist”.
This comes in the wake of a newly installed giant screen in First St which
will transmit Xinhua propaganda to a diminishing number of shoppers.
The reader has a point. Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has been thrown
into jail for 11 years for nothing more than advocating democratic reform.
This is what the Chinese call “subversion”. In calling for his release
Taiwan made the point that “Concern for human rights does not distinguish
between nationalities and borders”.
Liu was represented at the awards ceremony in Oslo by an empty chair. The
awards committee reminded us that China is a signatory to the International
Declaration of Human Rights. But obviously Beijing doesn’t care. And it has
been busy arm-twisting smaller states to stay away from the ceremony.
Zimbabwe’s democratic movement, parochial at the best of times, needs to
speak out on these issues. Human rights are not just for Zimbabweans. China
is a bully that tramples on human rights at every turn. We need to remind
the Chinese that Mugabe and his gang won’t be in power forever.
Meanwhile, the pro-China Zanu PF gang should tell us this: why is
colonisation okay when Tibetans are the victims? We would hate to think you
are all a bunch of hypocrites!

On the subject of human rights, one observer contacted Muckraker to point
out the importance of posture. At last Friday’s ceremony in Africa Unity
Square, Arthur Mutambara and Nelson Chamisa took their seats, looking very
smart, sitting upright and engaging in what looked like intelligent small
talk. Morgan Tsvangirai, our democratic champion, on the other hand sat
slumped in his chair looking completely disinterested. He then gave his
speech and left. Perhaps he was busy “not bothering” about WikiLeaks!
We were amused how the regime’s publicists in the Herald seem to think that
sequels will only affect the MDC-T. Do they really think there will be no
mention of the “crazy old man” and his acolytes again?

NewsDay has sustained another attack by the predatory Media Monitoring
Project of Zimbabwe that doesn’t think there is enough about President
Mugabe on the paper’s front page. For instance the MMPZ thinks it should
have reported more on his visit to Libya.
“NewsDay all but ignored the Third Africa-European summit in Libya,” MMPZ
complained, “and did not report Mugabe’s criticism of the West for perceived
double standards over human rights issues.”
NewsDay readers were deprived of the chance to know that the summit had been
boycotted by a number of African figures, it said.
This is editorial prescription at its worst. We appreciate the MMPZ is
suffering from a cash shortage and needs to advertise to its donors that it
is being even-handed. But at a time when Mugabe has the support of a stable
of newspapers and the country’s only television station, we feel that if the
editor wants to leave the president off the front page for whatever reason
there won’t be a huge outpouring of indignation by readers!
And indeed there wasn’t!
However, here are all the letters to the editor which we suppressed: “Please
give us more stories about President Mugabe.” “We want to know the president’s
thinking on African unity.” “We don’t hear enough of the president’s wise
teachings.” “You should write more stories like the Herald.”
Just kidding of course. But the Herald, which has been assiduously copying
our SMS column, did slip this little bit in on Tuesday: “Thumbs up for
Mutasa, Deketeke, Chikoto, and Malaba.  Zimpapers will always be No 1.
Others follow, especially Alpha Media. WikiLeaks has revealed all. Shame on
you Ncube, Khumalo, Wetherell and Kahiya.”
It is signed “Anonymous”.
It is of course an in-house job. You can tell that when they get all the
names right!
But it also reveals how Zanu PF is so pathetically dependent upon WikiLeaks
for its election platform. Once again they will seize on anything which
diverts the public’s attention from their record of governance.

Muckraker found it ironic that the Herald, of all newspapers, would publish
Julian Assange’s article “WikiLeaks — Why shoot the messenger?” In the
article, Assange pontificates about the role of the media in revealing the
truth in light of the Wikileaks debacle. He goes on to accuse the Julia
Gillard-led Australian government of trying to “shoot the messenger” because
according to him they don’t want the truth revealed about their diplomatic
and political dealings.
“The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the
right of all media to reveal the truth,” Assange goes on to state.
While agreeing with Assange’s view, Muckraker however found it strange that
the Herald has of late taken on the mantle of advocate for media freedom. It
requires no rocket scientist to decipher why they have taken this stance.
Because the stories coming out of Wikileaks suit them at the moment, they
have shamelessly paraded themselves as champions of freedom of the media.
“Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars,” the article
further says. “But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to
its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their
lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified,
then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.”
The fact that the Herald itself has been used to suppress the truth over the
years shows the double standards at play here. The misinformation campaign
they spearheaded during the DRC war is a case in point. The Herald was
complicit in government’s aim to keep a tight lid on what was happening in
the DRC in terms of the casualties and the toll the war took on the fiscus.
On top of that they have gladly been used in the creation of fictional coup
plots and terrorists and in justifying violent campaigns against dissent to
Zanu PF rule.
As Matthew 7:5 states: “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye;
then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

The Sunday Mail carried a nice picture of the president and Grace Mugabe at
the wedding of Grace’s son, Russell Goreraza, and Gladys Chiwaya last
Muckraker has one question. Where was the groom’s father? He didn’t seem to
be “around”. He surely can’t still be in Beijing where he was exiled in 1995
on a “slow boat to China”.
Grace Mugabe had some advice for her son: “Do not turn this girl into a
punching bag,” she admonished. This is a rather strange injunction if he had
no intention of doing so!

We see that Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who was rejected by Bulawayo voters in 2008 is
giving us the benefit of his views even though nobody wants to know. Here is
another Zanu PF zealot who got things horribly wrong in 2008.
He wanted us to know last week that the WikiLeaks shocks are “nothing but a
major revelation of treasonable acts”.
What hogwash! There is nothing remotely “treasonable” in the WikiLeaks
cables unless of course you are 10 years old. Please can Zanu PF officials
stop insulting our intelligence!
It didn’t get them anywhere the last time and won’t this time. Ask Ari
And why should Tsvangirai call for the lifting of sanctions when Zanu PF has
done little or nothing to comply with the GPA terms? Do you see the whole
nation out on the streets demanding “Lift sanctions now”? And “Down with the
treasonous one”?
Not much sign of that is there? Have you seen any changes at ZBC? How many
people have been arraigned by the Human Rights Commission? How much healing
has there been? Where is Joseph Mwale?Cde Sikhanyiso: Answers please before
you next give us the benefit of your opinion.
We were tempted to pop in “widely discredited” there but will avoid it for
the present.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Eric Bloch: Intensifying investor rejection

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:00

LAST Monday witnessed the official launch of the One-stop Investment Shop of
the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA).  That venture is commendably
intended to be highly facilitative of new investment in general, and foreign
investment into Zimbabwe in particular.  It is targeted at minimising
bureaucracy, and ensuring that all key investment authority requirements are
processed within a week, in marked contrast to previous time effluxions of
seven or more weeks.
Only one facet of the launch of the One-Stop Investment Shop had a sour, and
very counterproductive, taste.  Yet again political misrepresentation reared
its ugly head.  Those present were informed that the relative paucity of
foreign investment is directly attributable to the “illegal” sanctions
imposed on Zimbabwe by many first-world countries.
Not only was that contention devoid of substance, but no explanation was
given as to how those international restrictions on Zimbabwe are precluding
investment.  Over and above travel constraints upon approximately two
hundred of the political hierarchy, and those connected with that hierarchy,
the so-called sanctions only preclude loans and trade with government, its
parastatals and other government entities.  They, in no manner whatsoever,
hinder or ban private sector investment, trade with Zimbabwe, or the
provision of funding, in any form to any element of the Zimbabwean economy
that is not connected to the government.  There was, therefore, no substance
whatsoever to the claims that there are sanctions which constrain Zimbabwean
investment.  Those claims, endlessly repeated, are wholly mythical and
devoid of substance.
The reality is that potential investors presently perceive Zimbabwe as an
extremely high risk investment destination.  They are fearful as to security
of investment, and as to the endangerment confronting the viability of
investments.  The fears are founded upon many considerations — all of which
must be constructively addressed by government if it had real will to do so.
Foremost amongst the investor concerns are:

    * The pronounced political instability prevailing in Zimbabwe.  Although
more than two years have elapsed since the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
was finalised between the key political parties, numerous elements of that
agreement have not been implemented.  As a result, the supposedly
 “inclusive” government is not functioning as an effective coalition, but is
characterised by endless conflict and divide.

    * The perceptions of political instability are intensified by the
recurrent uncertainty as to when the next presidential and parliamentary
elections will be held and, more importantly, whether those elections will
be genuinely democratic, free and fair.  Already, although election dates
are still an uncertainty, rumours abound of militaristic and activist
harassment and intimidation of voters in rural areas, and of political
favour being cultivated by government support and assistance to those in
rural areas being restricted to supporters of the former ruling party, or
being given conditionally upon such support.

    * Concurrently with investor concerns as to the absence of compatibility
between the political environmental and the fundamental needs of investment
security, the investors are extremely hesitant to invest in an environment
wherein they will have little or no influence on the operations of the
entities in which they would invest.

They are unwilling to invest their capital resources, make available
exclusive technology skills, accord access to their established markets, and
the like, if they have no influence, authority and control of the operations
to which they provide those resources and benefits.  Almost without
exception, the potential investors are unreservedly willing to partner
indigenous investors, but not so if the reality is that they are not
partners, but subordinates with no effective, lawful role in the control and
operation of their investments.
However, the government (or, in any event, a key element of that government)
is adamant that in any venture having net assets of US$500 000 or more,
indigenous investors must possess at least 51% of the venture’s equity.
That reduces the intending foreign investor to minority status, subordinate
to the will and whims of the indigenous investors.  Moreover, the foreign
investor is given no assurance that the indigenous “partners” will
proportionately and timeously provide equity and other resources to the
investment entity.  Instead, they are confronted with a declared intent that
the entity will be mandatorily  obliged to pay levies into an Indigenous
Fund which is to assist indigenous investment funding.  To all intents and
purposes, therefore, the foreign investors are being required, albeit
indirectly, to fund their own equity dilution.

    * Yet another major investor constraint is the magnitude of the decline
in Zimbabwean parastatal and local authority service delivery.  With energy
generation being erratic in the extreme, impacting very negatively upon
productivity and therefore, upon investment viability, and with little
evident  prospects of transformation in the foreseeable future, potential
investors perceive Zimbabwe’s infrastructural near collapse as a major
concern in considering whether or not Zimbabwe is an acceptable investment
destination.  The concern is not limited to the issue of energy
availability, but also to reliability of water supplies, efficacy of
telecommunications and of transport services, and of much else that should
be reliably forthcoming from government, its parastatals, and local

    * As if those diverse considerations do not suffice to negate investor
interest, the potential  investors are understandably also hesitant to
pursue Zimbabwean investment when they perceive intensifying labour unrest,
the employer-worker relationships having considerably declined in the last

    * In addition, investors fear an absence of investment security if their
investment is into a country which has consistently disregarded and breached
its Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements, has
unilaterally expropriated land (without compensation), failed to compensate
for moveable assets, and for improvements, and crops, situated on the
expropriated lands.  Those investor reservations are also reinforced by the
endlessly declared intentions to increase various direct and indirect taxes
on those economic sectors of greatest interest to investors, and by the
frequent introduction of excessive regulations and governmental controls.

It is long overdue for Zimbabwe’s politicians to cease their endeavours to
deflect recognition of their culpability for the country’s economic morass,
and instead to acknowledge that culpability and address it constructively.
When that belatedly occurs, vigorously and convincingly, foreign investment
will flood into Zimbabwe, for the country’s investment potential is immense.
That inflow of investment will be massively stimulatory of the economy, a
generator of substantial fiscal inflows, and much else.  As a first step,
all that is necessary is for certain politicians to recognise, and face up
to, the facts!

Eric Bloch

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dispelling myths of a people-driven constitution

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:58

ZIMBABWE is currently engaged in a process of constitution-making.  The
process has its flaws, but there is a reasonable chance of producing a new
document that will be substantially better than the current one, especially
in the area of civil rights.
A new, enforceable, democratic constitution will certainly contribute to the
political development of the country and help solve its very grave economic
and social problems. However, the viability of the process and successful
adoption of a new constitution is threatened by the flaws in the process and
the real motivations by key actors to distort and even to block it
To reach a successful conclusion, civil society must actively engage and
focus on the substantive areas of agreement, and parliament should fulfill
its critical role as elected representatives and decision-makers for the
I am not an expert on Zimbabwe’s politics yet I have 20 years of relevant
comparative and theoretical academic work comparing modern constitutions and
constitution-making processes.  I visited Zimbabwe in November.
The constitution-making process, as mandated by Article 6 of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and by constitutional amendment 19, is part of a
much longer constitutional history. The present constitution is a
significantly amended version of the 1980 Lancaster House negotiated
constitution that came with Independence.
It has fundamental deficiencies not only with respect to its absolute
entrenchment of settler privilege in land ownership, but also in the area of
basic rights.
The most important amendments did not address the deficiencies, but
fundamentally altered the structure of government, moving from a
parliamentary system to an “executive presidency”, also referred to among
academics as hyper-presidentialism or delegative democracy.  The end result
was a constitution that combined a deficient concept of rights with a
post-colonial authoritarian structure of government and no significant
separation of powers or checks and balances.
Today, as a result of more than 10 years of political crisis, there is broad
consensus in Zimbabwe that the inherited constitution must be replaced by a
new one.  However, there remains disagreement over whether the change will
mean a fundamental change in the current regime or merely its structural
Between 1998 and 2000, there were two constitution-making projects that
failed, one came from below and one from the government. The National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) formed in 1997 proposed the election of a new
constitution-making body with important inputs from grassroots
consultations. The NCA developed an important constitutional draft in 2001,
yet it and other civil society forces did not have the power to implement
this model from below. To counter their popular project, the Zanu PF
government offered its own procedural and substantive proposal: the
establishment of a governmental Constitutional Commission that would itself
organise popular consultations, produce a draft and submit it to a
referendum.  A draft was produced (Constitutional Commission or CC Draft
2000) and was taken to a referendum where it was rejected. The country
remained with its heavily amended Lancaster House Constitution.
After the failure of these draft constitutions, from a comparative point of
view, the GPA seeks to establish a two-stage constitution-making process
based on a combination of negotiations and democratic will formation.
This model, speaking abstractly, was used in Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria,
and was perfected in the Republic of South Africa.  It involves a first
stage of inclusive political party negotiations to establish the preliminary
legal framework for next steps (in South Africa, the interim constitution
with its 34 principles), and a second stage based on a much more democratic
(but not unlimited) constitution making body.  In Bulgaria, it was a Grand
National Assembly; in South Africa, it was two newly elected chambers
meeting as the constitutional assembly.  This by its nature allows
significantly more input from civil society and the public sphere.
The GPA itself is the result of tripartite negotiations.  The current
constitution’s amendment 19 arguably changes the present constitution into
an interim one suitable for the regulation of the process.  While not as
strong as the South African interim constitution of 1993, the Zimbabwean
transitional arrangements are comparable to the Polish and Bulgarian
devices, assuming relative good will of existing power holders.
In Zimbabwe, a unique method was chosen to provide the democratic element:
popular, grassroots consultations and co-opted (rather than elected) All
Stakeholders Conferences.  The results of the popular consultations are to
be fed into 17 thematic committees established by the Select Parliamentary
Committee (Copac) in charge of the process.  They in turn are to report
their results to a drafting committee also established by Copac.  Parliament
itself is to debate the result only at the end, after the drafting committee’s
proposal has gone through and survived a second meeting of the All
Stakeholders’ Conference.  The final step is a national referendum.
The idea of constituent power, originally formulated through elected
representation in America and France, is conceptualised here in the form of
direct democracy. This presents real challenges because the unity,
homogeneity, organisation and subjective capability of the long suffering
people of Zimbabwe is even more questionable today than it was in those
countries in the 18th century.  Fortunately, the GPA article 6 also leaves
room for civil society organisations in the process.
This then leads to the question, what is the true voice of the people: the
record of the popular consultations or the plurality of views represented by
the organisations and actors of civil society?
Many civil society organisations have already noticed that something is
wrong with the constitution-making process.  Unfortunately, they tend to
attack what is good in the process.
In a complex society torn by divisions, a direct democratic replacement of
representative democracy based on elections will not produce workable
results.  Ultimately, this returns the task of constitution-making to the
much derided process of party negotiations and the current parliament, which
is likely the most representative elected body Zimbabwe has had since
Independence.  Because of this, civil society organisations should play an
important corrective role in the process.
It is critically important that civil society participate actively in the 17
thematic sub-committees working on substance for the drafting committee
right now.  According to the GPA, civil society should make up 70% of the
To Page 18
committee membership.
Both the civil society members in the committees and those who monitor them
should work to achieve what they think is right -- not necessarily what the
people said in outreach meetings but what they would say if they understood
the meaning, the consequences and the side-effects of their choices.  They
should not disregard what the respondents actually said, yet they must treat
this as data along with other data, including relevant party and civil
society draft constitution proposals.  And finally, civil society and party
members must not be deterred by their own prejudices or by the presence of
monitors from negotiating with one another and trying to convince one
While there is great commonality in the current variety of drafts over
important civil rights, the most important questions and negotiations will
be about the structure of executive power, devolution of power, the land
question and the question of citizenship.  These critical questions will be
best addressed if civil society representatives and party representatives
abandon the idea of being passive tabulators of the people’s will and
instead negotiate in reasonably good faith to make a workable document.
Take the most important question – that of the executive -- as an example.
Here both sides in the debate are appealing to the supposed wishes of the
people, and each is coming up with an unworkable result because the people
do not have a well-educated, comparative understanding of the possible
models.  For instance, does a rural subsistence farmer really know that
executive presidency means hyper-presidentialism without checks and
balances?  Such a model implies the power of the dissolution of parliament
that even the US and South African chief executives do not have?  And that
this puts the president alone in control of emergency powers?
It is still possible to negotiate an executive presidency redefined by
limits, checks and balances. There should be term limits, certainly no more
than two terms should be allowed, and on this there seems to be some
consensus already. The power of dissolution of the legislature should be
removed, or made dependent on the agreement of the absolute majority of
The power to appoint judges should be redesigned to give it independence
from the executive.  Provincial governors should be elected rather than
appointed. The power to declare emergencies should be shared in some way
between the president and another body, and ending them should be entirely
out of the hands of the executive.  This power could be given to the highest
court or the parliament, but in no case should the president have these
powers alone.  The ability to rule by decree should be dramatically reduced.
Veto powers over legislation should be weakened and eliminated entirely in
the case of constitutional amendments.
If compromise solutions are possible in such areas, then a purely expert
drafting committee may also be possible.  If, however, there is disagreement
on one or more of the fundamental issues, only a politically constructed
drafting committee can make the final choices.  It is not realistic to
propose that non-partisan experts could resolve disagreements whose nature
is fundamentally political.  Thus, the best drafting committee composition
is most likely political party experts alongside civil society
constitutional experts.
There are three bodies left to consider the results: the Second All
Stakeholders Conference, parliament, and the popular referendum.  If there
is fundamental agreement in the drafting committee on all issues, I believe
all three instances will and should support the results.  A “NO” vote in a
referendum would be counter-productive given the huge areas of progress that
are likely to be made, and the fact that the country would end up returning
to the Lancaster constitution.
The current constitution making process in Zimbabwe is uncertain but also
hopeful.  Its best chances for success rely on the (partial) convergence
among constitutional drafts, substantive participation by civil society in
the drafting process, and the presence of a plurality of parties at all
levels of the process.
Civil society and political parties could reinforce the chances of success
if they quietly break with some of the myths of a people-driven process and
instead embrace the reality and the advantages of a negotiated one.

Arato is the Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor in Political and Social Theory.

By Andrew Arato

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai the best alternative — for now

Thursday, 16 December 2010 19:57

THE WikiLeaks cables in past weeks have aroused interest especially among
Zimbabweans. They have been more intriguing to me  not because of US
Ambassador Christopher Dell’s notes, but the comments and analysis
Zimbabweans have been frantically making.
On reading Dell’s diplomatic notes for the first time, I was quite convinced
they were not so much  a blow to Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, but a
good public relations piece for both President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. I was wrong.
In a classified document titled “The end is nigh”, Dell describes Tsvangirai
thus: “Morgan Tsvangirai is a brave, committed man and, by and large, a
democrat. He is also the only player on the scene right now with real star
quality and the ability to rally the masses. But Tsvangirai is also a flawed
figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable
judgment in selecting those around him. He is the indispensable element for
opposition success, but possibly an albatross around their necks once in
power. In short, he is a kind of Lech Walesa character. Zimbabwe needs him,
but should not rely on his executive abilities to lead the country’s
I hold no brief for Tsvangirai and the MDC, nor do I for Zanu PF and Mugabe.
I write as an ordinary Zimbabwean. I have been compelled to give my views
because of what I think is a fallacy among the many Zimbabwean “analysts”
who have tackled this issue.
A flawed figure
Many Zimbabweans, including Petina Gappah writing in the UK Guardian, have
gone to town with the usual “we had seen it all” opinion. I agree with most
of Dell’s comments on Mugabe, Mutambara, Finance minister Tendai Biti and
Ncube. Yes, Tsvangirai is flawed, but who is not? Are Mugabe, Ncube,
Mutambara not flawed? Even Chief Chirau, James Chikerema and Edison Zvobgo
were flawed.
Most analysts have chosen to go with this “flawed character” mantra as
though that’s all there is to Tsvangirai from Dell’s notes. There are many
educated and experienced Zimbabweans, both in the diaspora and at home, but
they lack Tsvangirai’s bravery. Much newspaper space has been dedicated by
the private and state-controlled media to the “flawed” character that is
Tsvangirai, but very little about his bravery or his ability to rally masses
like Mugabe used to.
It is actually a plus for Tsvangirai to be described by an American
ambassador as one who is “not readily open to advice”. Yes, what advice
Dell? Surely advice can be accepted or rejected! Tsvangirai is not a puppet
of the US as much as the US may prefer him as the leader of Zimbabwe to
Mugabe. The reasons can be a subject for another day.
I agree with commentators who have highlighted (including Dell) that
Tsvangirai is not always spot-on in choosing those he listens to — Theresa
Makone being one classic example.
The Churchill factor
Zimbabweans must not lose sight of their immediate problems. The problem at
hand is to change the way Zimbabwe is (not) working. To do that we need a
revolutionary, a leader who is brave and can take us to the “Promised Land”.
Yes, Tsvangirai can be “an albatross around their necks once in power”, but
I am sure Tsvangirai is aware of his shortcomings. Standing up to Zanu PF
and Mugabe the way he has done needs bravery. He will confound the US by
appointing those who can govern once change has been achieved. This is a
revolution and one brave individual has to lead the way.
Remember the great British leader Winston Churchill was a darling during
World War II, but they got rid of him soon after because he had played his
part. Julius Nyerere, too, who warned Mugabe about looking after the “jewel”
he inherited in 1980, was a great liberator, but relinquished power when he
realised macro-economics was not his turf.
It is disappointing to see some MDC spokespeople lambast Dell as if his
analysis of Tsvangirai is wrong or not true. Dell is spot-on and surely
Tsvangirai, not withstanding his weaknesses, is a good leader under the
circumstances. Why not celebrate his strengths as well articulated by the
same Dell?
“Educated” Zimbabweans will say Tsvangirai could have done better and so on,
but what I don’t hear is what exactly he should have done or he must do. We
are so good at complaining, are good analysts and commentators, but there is
a dearth of men and women of action in Zimbabwe.
Leadership crisis
We have become a nation of professional whingers, moaning at every turn. We
desperately want change and are taking out our frustrations on Tsvangirai
and the MDC. We are the agents of the change we desire.
What will you say when your children ask: What did you do when Zimbabwe was
burning? We expect the opposition to deliver change but we do not bother to
register to vote let alone stand in a queue to vote. Have you explained to
your father and mother in the rural areas that nobody can ever know whom
they voted for? Leadership does not need a powerful position to be
exercised, it demands self-respect.
Besides the flawed characters that we are, there is a general dearth of
leadership and bravery in the country, making Tsvangirai the beacon of hope.
We have nobody else to measure him against. We are cowards!
One only needs to look in the private sector in Zimbabwe to see the
leadership crisis. A lot of people in the private sector only “lead” because
of their patronage to the ruling party or because they are lackeys of white
They make no efforts to improve their lot nor voice concerns to improve the
business environment. They do not see the link between economics and
Dell also talks of the alternatives: Mutambara — an immature and clueless
“American” unrepresentative of the generality of Zimbabweans. Welshman
Ncube — “divisive” and suspect.
The tragedy of Zimbabwe is we tend to think paper degrees are the
The mistake Tsvangirai made is not getting a degree in his earlier life.
Tsvangirai may be a “flawed figure”, but he is the best hope for Zimbabwe.
He is the single biggest threat to Mugabe’s life presidency dream.

Eminos Manyawi is a Zimbabwean based in Johannesburg. He writes in his
personal capacity. e-mail:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Candid Comment: ‘Mugabe’s wives’ avoid succession issue – again!

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:08

ZANU PF’s annual conference, the party’s ritual yearly talk-shop, got
underway yesterday in Mutare with officials talking 19 to the dozen about
all sorts of things under the sun, while fearfully skirting the real issue:
President Robert Mugabe’s succession.
It is predictable Mugabe and his party will incoherently babble on about
land, indigenisation, sanctions and elections but will not tackle the issue
of leadership renewal in the moribund organisation. The issue has now become
a controversial and divisive dimension of the country’s turbulent politics.
Given Zanu PF’s history and role in Zimbabwean politics and Mugabe’s
ironfisted rule over three decades, his succession is no longer just a Zanu
PF internal matter but a critical issue affecting the country’s body politic
and the future of the nation.
Zimbabwe’s future, for better or worse, is intertwined with how Zanu PF will
resolve Mugabe’s succession in the context of its current dynamics and the
country’s evolving political processes and changing landscape. If the
explosive issue is handled carefully and resolved peacefully, it would help
to smoothly steer Zimbabwe’s transition from the current dictatorship to
democracy. However, if the issue is handled badly, Zanu PF could implode and
its internal conflict would then spill over into national politics with dire
Put simply, Zimbabwe’s political future is now in many ways tied to the
resolution of Mugabe’s succession. Mugabe’s history and legacy as a ruler
for an entire generation without a break impacts on the country’s prospects.
This is particularly so when considering how Mugabe gained, consolidated and
retained power through ruthless manoeuvring and internal repression. His
methods and measures of exercising power have defined the political culture
and landscape, and significantly poisoned the environment.
Although he has managed to superficially hold together his party — plagued
by simmering regional and ethnic tensions — the stirrings of incessant
infighting and consequently inevitable disintegration after his departure,
either by death or retirement (which is a difficult proposition), are
evident. Zanu PF is dogged by factionalism and internal strife, mainly
stemming from Mugabe’s refusal to retire or define his succession plan.
Efforts to contain this issue by appointing deceptive succession committees
have not helped.
After years of gradual decline, the party
has now virtually collapsed into the state and is being propped up by state
structures, including the army. Without the military and other state
structures, Zanu PF would neither be able to effectively keep itself
cohesive nor function.
There can be no gainsaying that the party would have long ago lost power
without the support of the army. It is clear Mugabe has conflated civil and
military relations in government to enable him to retain control and run the
country aided and abetted by a clique of securocrats whose brazen and
partisan interference in civilian politics constitutes a serious danger to
So Zanu PF when it fails to tackle Mugabe’s succession issue at its
congresses and conferences or whatever platforms, is only succeeding in
escalating its low-intensity conflict and accelerating its decline. Whether
the party likes it or not, Mugabe will eventually go. Time is now overdue
for them to resolve the issue.
It would be sad for Zimbabwe to be engulfed in internal conflict simply
because of Mugabe and his party’s failure to put their house in order.
Instead of Zanu PF officials calling Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to
resign over WikiLeaks, they should surely be engaged in a more serious
debate about the need for Mugabe to either retire or if he doesn’t want to
retire, to spell out his succession plan.
Zanu PF officials must have the courage of their convictions to openly
discuss Mugabe’s succession. Otherwise, we will now be left with no option
but to believe the party’s former MP and war veteran Margaret Dongo’s unkind
observation that Zanu PF officials are “Mugabe’s wives”.

Dumisani Muleya

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor's Memo: Zanu PF should not throw stones

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:07

THE Zanu PF annual talk-show goes up a gear today with President Robert
Mugabe expected to open debate on the leaked controversial US State
Department cables that have presented him with a timely opportunity to ramp
up his call for fresh polls next year. The gimmick, this time, being the
irretrievable deterioration of relations in the GNU emanating from the MDC’s
working with Washington to effect regime change.
Mugabe told his party’s central committee on Wednesday that Zanu PF should
“review and take stock of its participation in the so-called inclusive
government” after the leaking of the cables by WikiLeaks, a controversial
Prior to the meetings, hawks in the party had for close to a fortnight been
shouting themselves hoarse in calling for the setting up of a commission of
inquiry to probe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. This is in relation to
his briefings with US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, which are
contained in some of the cables.
They are calling for the premier to be charged with treason on the grounds
that he was not genuine in calling for the lifting of sanctions and that he
is working Nicodemously with the US to effect regime change. The state media
has also gone into overdrive to portray Tsvangirai as a puppet of the West.
It is worth noting that Mugabe’s posture belies his claimed sincerity in
fully implementing the tenets of the Global Political Agreement. While
committing themselves in terms of the letter, they have remained
antithetical in spirit since its conception. They have consistently thrown
spanners into the GNU works with sanctions being the main rallying point for
With the release of the cables by WikiLeaks, Zanu PF have found an affable
excuse to justify their intransigence and to end the inclusive government.
As usual, Zanu PF has sieved the contents of the cables, completely ignoring
the parts referring to the indiscretion within their ranks.
Tsvangirai in dismissing the Zanu PF apologists’ call for him to resign over
the WikiLeaks revelations has rightly queried the selective use of the
cables. Where the MDC is concerned, they are factual, whilst on Zanu PF
officials the cables are deemed as lies.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, was
quoted by our  sister newspaper, NewsDay, saying: “You cannot wish
prosecution of the Prime Minister on the basis of the WikiLeaks report,
while ignoring those named in the same report as the chief culprits in the
illegal mining and sale of the diamonds in Chiadzwa. Those are serious
allegations deserving an inquiry.”
The irony of these Zanu PF zealots’ call for Tsvangirai’s resignation seems
completely lost on them. People like Jonathan Moyo, who were allegedly at
the forefront of the plot to re-jig the presidium during the Tsholotsho
debacle –– arguably a treasonous offence –– are now again at the forefront
of accusing the premier of the same. Time and again members of the security
establishment have brazenly stated their disdain for the ballot as a means
of regime change threatening to “go back to the bush” if their candidate
loses. Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri said: “This country
came through blood and the barrel of the gun and it can never be
re-colonised through a simple pen, which costs as little as five cents.”
Only last month Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa stated at a lavish party
hosted by Zanu PF that: “If you don’t vote for us in the next election, this
country is huge, we will rule even if you don’t want.”
No guesses for the results of commissions of inquiry into such statements,
which in our view are treasonous. Zanu PF should consider refraining from
throwing stones from inside its giant glass house.

Constantine Chiimakure

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Comment: High bank charges a death knell for sector

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:06

WHILE innovative moves in business should be commended, the same cannot be
said about Zimbabwean banks, particularly their bank charges no matter how
plausible their reasons seem to be. Worse still, the very bankers have
attempted to hide behind a finger to defend the high charges being levied on
Elsewhere, we carry a story on bank charges and why banks are asking their
clients to pay so much. The debate on bank charges has often been emotive
but largely bereft of tangible solutions. It is therefore worth to explore
the state of affairs in the financial services sector with a view to finding
After the adoption of multiple currencies, Zimbabwean banks shifted from
traditional banking –– taking deposits and lending and making money from
there –– in a bid to stay afloat in an economy characterised by low deposits
and tight liquidity.
This has forced banks to target account-holders as a source of income.
Instead of the conventional system where John deposits $20 in Bank X savings
account paying 1% interest and Jack borrows $20 at 4% interest from the same
bank to buy a car, banks are now charging high costs on transactions instead
of making money from interest from loans.
Non-funded income should not constitute the bulk of the banks bottom-line
earnings. Rather, the bulk of the money should come from pure banking. Banks
should come up with other innovative products that encourage and stimulate a
return to banking or create synergies to boost critical masses instead of
punishing depositors. If this goes unchecked, the majority of the banking
public will have no choice but to resort to traditional “pillow banks”.
Banks should realise that Zimbabwe lost a culture of saving in the
hyper-inflation period and cannot be discouraged by high bank charges. It is
common cause that liquidity is tight in the market. As such, even a million
dollars cannot afford to shift to the informal market.
A quick look at other businesses that have had to look at synergies should
be a pointer to banking executives.
Other companies are creating business synergies in a bid to gain critical
masses.CBZ Holdings and United Builders Merchants (UBM) announced a deal
that will see the financial; services provider advance loans to prospective
home builders of at least US$5 000 payable in five years. In return, the
loan holders will only buy building materials from UBM. Analysts see this
development boosting retail building material sales and higher turnover for
UBM of about US$18 million. CBZ on the other hand will also increase its
loan book and effectively increase its interest income.
Econet and AFRE, an insurance company partnered and introduced a life
assurance product –– Ecolife. With this product, Econet clients can get life
cover on condition they buy airtime of at least US$3 per month consistently.
Econet management hopes the synergy will help retain subscribers within the
network. AFRE on the other hand benefits from the premiums obtained buoyed
by Econet’s huge subscriber base.
Despite the state of liquidity and the economy, it is about time banks
stopped over-relying on non-funded income.
More worryingly, will the same institutions lower the charges once the
liquidity situation and deposits improve?
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mushayavanhu told this paper
this week that bank charges in Zimbabwe were “much lower” than what the
region was charging. This was indeed a low attempt at justifying the costs.
“That is the general perception but our bank charges are much lower that
what other countries in the region are offering,” he said.
But figures obtained this week showed that banks have astronomically
increased bank charges, shortchanging depositors.
The central bank should now step out and assume its status and come to the
market with papers and save consumers.

Back to the Top
Back to Index